What You Need To Know

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Contributor For:

The Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB) [Film Festival Contributor]
Cinematic Katzenjammer [Film Contributor]
Blerdnation [Blog Contributor]


Recognition: 

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Nominated for Best Movie Genre Blog - Independent Cinema as voted on by The Large Association of Movie Blogs (2013)

—> Read more about this blog here


Causes:

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AFFRM (African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement) empowers black indie filmmakers with collaborative, simultaneous theatrical distribution.

Currently In: 

Atlanta, GA (follow me on instagram)

"The One I Love"

Struggling with a marriage on the brink of falling apart, a couple escapes for a weekend in pursuit of their better selves, only to discover an unusual dilemma that awaits them.

Guys, you are in for a treat. Following the unexpectedly sweet and candid Obvious Child, comes another film that sets itself up to be a conventional rom-com but ends up turning the whole concept on its head; this one using tiny bits of whimsy to delve into how married people come to view each other and reconcile their relationship needs. The trailer teases some of this, but just like first-time feature director Charlie McDowell said in his introduction to the Sundance world premiere, you guys have no idea what you’re in for. Read some of my thoughts on the film after I screened it at Sundance. Oh, and see with Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass after the screening. 

The One I Love hits theaters in a limited run on August 15.

July in Film: Must Watch List

Newcomer Ellar Coltrane grows up before your eyes, Michael Pitt reconciles science and faith, and Anna Kendrick is the lovable yet irresponsible sister that bring misery to everyone.

[July 11] 

"Boyhood" (limited; wide July 18)

Director: Richard Linklater
Cast:  Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater
My Grade: B [commentary]

Synopsis: The life of a young man, Mason, from age 6 to age 18.

It’s the revolutionary feat of filmmaking from director Richard Linklater ((Dazed & Confused, Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight), following in real time the intimate family moments of a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from childhood up to teenage years. The film was shot in small segments once a year for 12 years and with it, film history was made.

Read more

Music Complements
:: A quarterly rundown of the music from film trailers that accurate portray the film’s tone, plot, and/or the main character’s state of mind.



1. “Obvious Child”/Paul Simon for Obvious ChildStandout Lyrics: “Some people say a lie’s a lie’s a lie/But I say why/Why deny the obvious child?/Why deny the obvious child?”Context: A wild-child Jewish comedian chick meets a buttoned-up Christian professional dude… and have a one night stand that conceives a child. While see contemplates an abortion, she has to find a way to break the news to him. [commentary]
2. “She” (Elvis Costello cover)/Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs for Gone GirlStandout Lyrics: “She may be the face I can’t forget/The trace of pleasure or regret/May be my treasure or the price I have to pay”Context: Amy is missing and her husband Nick may or may not have been murdered her. As we learn more about their relationship and Amy’s disappearance hangs over Nick’s life, we discover that Nick may not have been the only one leading a life of duplicity. 
[[MORE]]
3. “Crazy”/Gnarls Barkley for BirdmanStandout Lyrics: “I remember when I remember I remember when I lost my mind/There was something so pleasant about that place/Even your emotions had an echo/In so much space”Context: An aging actor, famous for portraying an iconic superhero, battles his ego personified a hallucination of his younger, action star self as he tries to make a comeback in his career and with his family. This creates a whole space to see just how far his crazy goes.
4. “Lost Stars”/Adam Levine for Begin AgainStandout Lyrics: “God, give us the reason youth is wasted on the young\It’s hunting season and the lambs are on the run\Searching for meaning\But are we all lost stars, trying to light up the dark?”Context: The film examines the lives of multiple people who are lives are in an emotional limbo beyond those of the main characters Gretchen, the songwriter recently dumped by her newly famous musician boyfriend, and Dan, the down-on-his-luck A&R rep looking to discover a new artist to recapture his glory days.


High-res

Music Complements

:: A quarterly rundown of the music from film trailers that accurate portray the film’s tone, plot, and/or the main character’s state of mind.

1. “Obvious Child”/Paul Simon for Obvious Child
Standout Lyrics: “Some people say a lie’s a lie’s a lie/But I say why/Why deny the obvious child?/Why deny the obvious child?
Context: A wild-child Jewish comedian chick meets a buttoned-up Christian professional dude… and have a one night stand that conceives a child. While see contemplates an abortion, she has to find a way to break the news to him. [commentary]

2. “She” (Elvis Costello cover)/Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs for Gone Girl
Standout Lyrics: “She may be the face I can’t forget/The trace of pleasure or regret/May be my treasure or the price I have to pay”
Context: Amy is missing and her husband Nick may or may not have been murdered her. As we learn more about their relationship and Amy’s disappearance hangs over Nick’s life, we discover that Nick may not have been the only one leading a life of duplicity.

Read more

"The Skeleton Twins"

A twin brother and sister who independently cheat death on the same day get together to consider how their lives went so wrong.

I have not been more surprised by a recent acting performance than by Bill Hader’s in this upcoming comedy drama, The Skeleton Twins. Debuting to very positive buzz at the 2014 Sundance Film festival, this seemingly run-of-the-mill, fly-under-the-radar, brother-sister comedy is anything but. Wiig and Hader embody siblings who completely support each other yet completely hurt each other, creating believable family dynamics onscreen. [commentary]

The Skeleton Twins, also starring Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell, hits US theaters on Sept. 19.

I contribute at times to a great site called The Cinematic Katzenjammer. The writers recently got together to compare lists of their top five favorite films of the year at this halfway point.
Here is my list:
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Belle 
3. Locke (commentary)
2. Obvious Child (commentary)
…see what my #1 is after the jump.
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1. Enemy 

Enemy is a film that hinders on suspense, be it a more trippy experience. Enemy centers on the interesting relationship of the four main characters (but is there really four?) and represents one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best roles to date. What is great about this film is that Villeneuve ventures out of the lines of a straight adaptation of the novel and confounds this already dark and moody story with Fight Club-esque psychology and unsettling surrealism. And with that, with probably five minutes of new art house material that bookends the film and a couple of small deletions from the main novel plot, Villeneuve creates a unique experience all his own and shapes a very different kind of story. This is a film that is its own amazingly weird entity, that feeling of something undetectable crawling on your skin captured on-screen. 
—> Check out the lists from the other writer’s at The Cinematic Katzenjammer and the films we agreed on here. </

I contribute at times to a great site called The Cinematic Katzenjammer. The writers recently got together to compare lists of their top five favorite films of the year at this halfway point.

Here is my list:

5. The Grand Budapest Hotel

4. Belle

3. Locke (commentary)

2. Obvious Child (commentary)

…see what my #1 is after the jump.

Read more

"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby"

A story of differing perspectives of Connor Ludlow and Eleanor Rigby, a young married couple living in New York. Him looks at their relationship from Connor’s angle, while Her follows Eleanor’s. During the course of their daily lives, the couple encounters a life changing event that threatens the stability of their marriage.

This weekend comes the exciting trailer for one of my favorite films to come out of 2014, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby starring the ever great James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain as a married couple on the verge of a failed marriage. I have read a number of media outlets comparing this story to that of the Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams-headed Blue Valentine. Yes, we have here a film that splices the more loving and playful begin stages of a long term relationship with the devastating and pain end stages, but for this film we have an extra element for which to hang your emotions. 

Read more

"Dear White People"

The life of four African American students at an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over a popular ‘African American’ themed party thrown by white students.

It is the Sundance 2014 film for the young black hipster generation, and its making it way to theaters everywhere October 17 after a popular concept trailer on social media, a successful crowd funding campaign, and a buzz worthy debut at Sundance.

As a harsh critic of the current state of black film, I found this film innovative in its presentation, thoughtful in its approach, and something I fully relate to. I may not be a product of a majority white college (HBCU bred!) but in life I’m a minority and deal with the same racial presumptions and attitudes that plague these fictitious characters while at the same thing protesting against stereotypes and self-loathing that we ourselves perpetuate. Kudos to first time filmmaker Justin Simien. [full review]